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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Activating T Cells With Trojan Horses - A Novel Approach to Vaccine Technology

The therapeutic antibody market has developed considerably since the first monoclonal antibody was approved in 1986 for preventing organ transplant rejection. Since then, revenues from therapeutic drugs have grown to more than US$2 billion in 2000, and are projected to reach US$8 billion by 2004 (1). From a pharmaceutical company's point of view, antibodies may present an attractive proposition as they have relatively short development times (six to seven years). Additionally, they are often less toxic and have more predictable pharmacological profiles than small molecule drugs. The current interest in vaccines and antibodies has also been driven by data from genomic and proteomic approaches, together with increasingly sophisticated methods for target antigen identification. Of course, target identification is merely the start of the process. In order to maintain the rate of market growth for this area, any reagents developed also need an efficient delivery method in order to elicit a strong, specific T cell response. This article will examine one way in which this can be achieved, via the targeting of antigens to antigen presenting cells (APCs), leading to enhanced antigen presentation and increased T cell activation.


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By Dr Ole Henrik Brekke, Director of New Technologies at Affitech AS, and Professor Inger Sandlie, Leader of the Antibody Engineering Group at the Department of Biology, University of Oslo

Dr Ole Henrik Brekke is Director of New Technologies at Affitech AS, a privately held biotechnology company based in Oslo, Norway. Ole has extensive experience in the field of antibody engineering and has made several major contributions to the understanding of how human immunoglobulins mediate their effector functions, with subsequent work published in leading scientific journals.
Professor Inger Sandlie leads the Antibody Engineering Group at the Department of Biology, University of Oslo, and is a member of Affitech's Scientific Advisory Board. She has made major contributions in the field of human antibody structure and her work has significantly improved our understanding of how antibodies mediate their normal effector functions. Her current research involves both phage display technology and advanced biocomputing tools in order to develop novel therapeutic agents.

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Dr Ole Henrik
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Professor Inger Sandlie
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